Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo offense did plenty to make fans at the Rogers Centre shout Sunday, but the Bills defense had the more than 51,000 in attendance on their feet with a dominant performance in the team’s 23-0 win against the Washington Redskins.
The Bills came in with a league-low four sacks after four games and played without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Rookie Marcell Dareus took his place, moving from defensive end, and led a charge that brought down Redskins quarterback John Beck nine times to help preserve Buffalo’s first shutout since Dec. 17, 2006 against Miami.
“We’ve been getting pressure, we’ve just not been getting the sacks,” said Spencer Johnson, who stepped in at outside linebacker in place of the injured Shawne Merriman. “Sacks come in bunches and if we just keep plugging along going in that right direction, keep working hard in practice and focusing on what we can do, you can see what we can do.”
The Bills allowed just 178 yards of total offense (152 passing, 26 rushing) and added two more interceptions to their league leading total of 14. Buffalo ranked 30th against both the run and the pass heading into Sunday’s game.
“We talked about dominating each individual challenge that was out there — matching up with the man across from you and not only beating them, but dominating,” said George Wilson, who intercepted a Beck pass early in the fourth quarter.
Coach Chan Gailey said during the bye week that improving the pass rush was critical to the Bills’ success going forward. To come away with nine sacks, two shy of tying a Bills single-game record of 11, was a huge step in the right direction.
“I don’t think anybody expected that,” Gailey said. “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect that. They gave such a great effort, did a good job working technique and getting back to fundamentals.”